KidneyX Artificial Kidney Prize Offers $10 Million to Accelerate Artificial Kidney Development

Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) launched the KidneyX Artificial Kidney Prize to accelerate the development of artificial kidneys toward human clinical trials. This multiphase competition is KidneyX’s first fully dedicated effort toward artificial kidney advancement, with initial phases offering up to $10 million in prizes. Phase 1 seeks solutions that enable and advance the functionality, effectiveness, and/or reliability of artificial kidneys.

The goal of the Artificial Kidney Prize is to accelerate the development of continuous kidney replacement therapies that provide transformational treatment options beyond current dialysis methods, as outlined in the Technology Roadmap for Innovative Approaches To Renal Replacement Therapy. Entrants are encouraged to address one or more priority topic areas; however, the competition remains open to solutions that advance artificial kidneys in other ways.

“The KidneyX Artificial Kidney Prize aims to radically improve kidney care by bringing together innovators across expertise areas, including nephrology, bioengineering, materials science, regenerative medicine, and medical devices,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “Transformative innovation-like steps toward an artificial kidney are key to delivering on the goals of the President’s Advancing American Kidney Health initiative and helping the millions of Americans suffering from kidney disease who have been neglected for far too long.”

Innovation in kidney care is urgently needed: More than 850 million people worldwide live with kidney diseases, including 37 million Americans. Current treatment methods have not changed significantly in more than 60 years and cost more than $100 billion per year in the U.S. alone. Thirteen people die each day waiting for a kidney transplant, and those on dialysis face a 40% mortality rate within the first three years of treatment, which is a worse outcome than most cancers.

“KidneyX is growing an innovator community with the expertise and vision to create a paradigm shift in kidney care — the public-private partnership is on track to foster catalytic change to improve kidney health and, most importantly, achieve the outcomes important to patients, their caregivers, and those that love them,” said John Sedor, MD, FASN, Chair, KidneyX Steering Committee. “The Artificial Kidney Prize is committed to supporting multidisciplinary teams in bringing forward solutions that increase survival and restore quality of life for people with kidney failure.”

“Our Administration is implementing a comprehensive plan to prevent and treat Chronic Kidney Disease, which impacts tens of millions of Americans,” said Assistant Secretary for Health, ADM Brett P. Giroir. “The Artificial Kidney Prize is an outstanding step to provide novel life-saving treatments to those who would otherwise require dialysis or traditional transplantation.  And this prize is just the beginning of the bold plans we have to improve the lives of those with, or at risk for, chronic kidney disease.”

The Artificial Kidney Prize is open to both U.S. and international entrants, subject to eligibility requirements. Phase 1 calls for component or integrated prototype solutions with demonstrated performance, including proof of concept data, and detailed development plans. Phase 1 submissions are due by 4:59 p.m. ET on March 24, 2021. The judging panel will recommend up to eight winners, and up to $4 million in Phase 1 prizes will be distributed at the discretion of HHS and ASN. To learn more about participating, entrants can join a virtual information session on December 3.

Phase 2 of the Artificial Kidney Prize will be open to eligible entrants from Phase 1, as well as new eligible entrants who did not enter the first phase. The second phase of the competition will focus on initial integration of prototype solutions into an artificial kidney, or advancement of already integrated prototype solutions. Phase 2 will award up to $6 million in prizes and is expected to launch in October 2021.

Learn more about the Artificial Kidney Prize at akp.kidneyx.org.

About KidneyX

The Kidney Innovation Accelerator (KidneyX), a public-private partnership between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the American Society of Nephrology (ASN), is accelerating innovation in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of kidney diseases. KidneyX seeks to improve the lives of people with kidney disease by expediting the development of drugs, devices, biologics, and other therapies across the spectrum of kidney care.

To date, KidneyX has completed three competitions: the Patient Innovator Challenge and Redesign Dialysis Phase 1 and Phase 2. These competitions sought to improve the quality of life for people with kidney failure with innovative improvements to current dialysis treatment through innovations that reduce infection risk, improve vascular access, and replace kidney functions. KidneyX has awarded over $4 million to winners of these competitions. A forthcoming KidneyX competition — the COVID-19 Kidney Care Challenge — will begin accepting submissions on November 6. For more information, visit kidneyx.org.

About the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) enhances and protects the health and well-being of all Americans. HHS fulfills that mission by providing for effective health and human services and fostering advances in medicine, public health, and social services. For more information, visit hhs.gov.

About the American Society of Nephrology

Since 1966, the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) has been leading the fight to prevent, treat, and cure kidney diseases throughout the world by educating health professionals and scientists, advancing research and innovation, communicating new knowledge, and advocating for the highest quality care for patients. ASN has more than 21,000 members representing 131 countries. For more information, visit asn-online.org.